Just following a theme here.  Yesterday I noticed the word “Rename”, which started my devotional thoughts.  Today I noticed that the new “Page” I was to rename actually read “Blank” and then when I tapped it, I was told to “Rename”.

How about that.  Just when you think you have seen it all, you haven’t.  I have created a new page so many times that I had just learned to dismiss the beginning.  I am no scientist or behavioral studies guru, but it appears that we do this with many parts of daily life.  We dismiss or move past beginnings more often than we think. We have repetitive actions that we get comfortable with, and in essence, turn off part of our engagement with what we are doing, because it is something that is necessary, but doesn’t require our full attention.  You might call it an automatic response.

With the impact of the pandemic still looming large in headlines and the world still struggling to quantify safe practices, we are all on edge about the right thing to do.  For most of us, it would be safe to say that the “right thing” looks like doing what we used to do.  However the deep impact of tremendous shifts in healthcare, work, home, and daily activities has begun to take hold.  By that I mean, we are finding out that maybe what seemed “right” was not the only right way to do things.  It is being said that medicine has leapt forward ten years in its ability to treat and consult by email and online video appointments.  We are finding that someone can do our shopping for groceries and have them delivered, removing the burden of time for that slice of life.  While there are many down sides to the shelter-in process, there are benefits that will remain as good options.

My heart and prayers these days are with the Church.  We naturally want to return to what we have done together as the Church.  However the deep impact of the pandemic is with us there, too.  It begs the question, though what we were doing in the way of worship and gathering seemed “right”, is there something more that we should be listening to, searching out for, asking God, “What would you have us do?”.  Have our repetitive actions caused us to gloss over beginnings that could inform our return to church?

We already know that the shape of gatherings will necessarily have to change to keep our community safe from potential spread of the Covid virus. For now, no choirs, no singing, no collective communion, no hugging, shaking hands.  Lots’ of no’s!  However, is this a blank page, a fresh opening for God to say, let’s go back to the beginning? “What is worship about?”  Should we be asking, “How can our worship be an expression of worship that is pleasing to God?”?  Honestly, I believe that the last question has been re-written over time to read “What is pleasing me about worship?”.  We have become consumers to worship.  I don’t think it is intentional, its that we like what we like.  We are comfortable with what makes us feel good.  

We are at a crucial, unprecedented time in Church, with an opportunity to become a blank page as we will begin again. The cessation of all we know about being the church in worship and gatherings has prepared us to see church anew, to invite God to write upon our hearts.  Rather than fill gatherings with what we are used to or comfortable with, is there a deepening awareness God is impressing on our spirit?  More holiness in our worship? Less preaching and more reading of God’s Word?  More testimony, less….?  Will we ask of the Lord, “What do You want of us as the church?”.

I believe this is a rare and precious time for Church to open itself to the Holy Spirit.  Clearly, this can be a time of struggle against the tides of sameness for sake of comfort, and move into the stream of seeking what is pleasing to God.

I am a blank page, write on me, Lord. Write on our collective consciousness, how we can be more of You and less of us.  As individuals and as the church. May it be so for the sake of Jesus Christ, who established the church.

I love you, am praying for you.  You are God’s child and the face of Church to the world.

Pastor Lisa

“Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.” Acts 20: 28

The Church’s One Foundation by Samuel Sebastian Wesley, sung by Daniel Choo
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